Posts Tagged ‘carsplay

30
Dec
15

StarCar phenomonon, dubbed “Carsplay” goes global!

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One last blog for 2015, an end of the year wrap up!  Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com was started around the turn of this centurty, and has been growing in leaps and bounds every year.  From a single 66 Adam West Style batmobile, the idea of building, sharing and driving iconic movie and TV vehicles has grown to include StarCarCentral members around the globe.

In the early years of the hobby, people would fall in love with a famous ride, and the lucky few would buy a piece of movie history from the studios.  A few Herbie the Love Bugs, a handful of General Lee’s from Dukes of Hazzard and a Barris replica batmobile were in private hands.  Occasionally a short lived star car museum would open up for a while, then close down a year or two later.  The cars would be put in storage, or scattered around.  George Barris was kean on keeping track of all the famous cars, both the ones he had a hand in building, and anything else that had been on the screen and caught the public’s eye.   A couple of big auctions at his Barris’ Kustoms city and at the Peterson, gathered together for a brief time star cars from all walks of media and entertainment in the 1970’s and 1990’s.

If you didn’t get to the museum in Hollywood, or go to these simi-secret auctions that only movie car guys knew about, you would never have a chance to see more than one famous car together.

A few years down the road, fans started gathering for reunions.  The biggest of these was “Dukesfest” that happened for several years, and rows of repainted Challengers gathered together.  Some other famous cars would show up as well for a group photo.  Then interest waned and the shows stopped.  Now a new “Fanfest” has been reborn.

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Knight Rider fans also banded together and with the help of this new thing “The Internet” started finding other owners of Knight Rider KITT cars.  Rob Louisell, Mark’s Customs, Jay Ohrburg, sold fiberglass parts and the fans constantly improved the interior electronics and helped each other find rare parts to get their dream ride on the road.  A few gatherings of Knight Riders happened as well.  

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With the advent of the world Wide Web, every individual star car fan found a home to swap stories and ideas with other owners and fans.  There is a Herbie page,  lots of Knight Rider pages, 1966batmobile.com, basically there is a fan page for every famous movie and TV car that you can think of!

Even though Nate Truman had been tracking and finding screen used movie and TV cars since the 70’s, it wasn’t until 2003 at Crusin for a Cure that Nate finally decided to make his idea a reality.  “Let’s put them all in a pile, and play with them!” So over the last 12 years Nate has collected, connected, and introduced all the star car fans to each other!  It wasn’t easy, as many owners thought that their special car was cool, but didn’t want to park or do events with lots of “vehicular Unicorns”.    But Nate knew that seeing one amazing rare car out in “the wild” was amazing – seeing a HERD of them was mind blowing!  So out of that little new idea, and lots of detective work, Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com has become the hub where all the starcars can play together for good.  Hundreds of charity events, police, fire, Autism, Make-A-Wish, Pediatric Cancer Survivors, etc. have been able to include a display of famous movie and TV cars never seen before in public. The first “Carsplay” panel at Long Beach Comic Con happened this year and Nate and his team outlined the history of the hobby, and where it’s headed.

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So as a cap to 2015, Nate organized his lineup to set a new record.  The most famous movie and TV cars in a single parade.  Over 40 cars appeared in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas parade!  It was a driving, rolling star car museum – brought together for just a few hours, and then disappeared into the night!  A big thanks to all the fans, owners, restorers, historians, and bloggers who have helped the star car hobby grow, and make new friends around the world!   Here’s the Star Car Central video of all the cars on the red carpet in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade!  We have another 20 cars that could have been included, but we were just TOO big!  2015 Nate Truman’s Star Car Central.com Hollywood Christmas parade

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So come join the fun in 2016, bigger and better!  Email Nate@starcarcentral.com or info@starcarcentral.com if you have a famous on screen ride!  With chapters across the United States and around the world, get your toy out and drive it!

 

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02
Apr
15

Carcheology : building a Marty McFly 1985 Toyota Truck

The StarCar virus keeps growing and changing, and as I have found out is very contagious! From before the dawn of the World Wide Web, I have been hunting, building, restoring and writing about famous on screen vehicles.  So over the last 30 years or so, and mainly thanks to the internet most famous cars and their storied histories have come into light.   Some cars are harder to sort through than others, but all the iconic cars now have fan clubs, builder sites, replica forums etc.

So what is a “Patient Zero”  like me supposed to do?  I still enjoy the “Carcheology” (tm 2003 Nate Truman) “The discovery of the history of a vehicle by digging through it and discovering what has happened to it over the years”

But I don’t want to do the same car twice.  After the Batmobile, the Keaton batmobile, the A-Team Van, Austin Power’s Shaguar, buying and adding a audio-animatronic dinosaur to a Jurassic Park Explorer, KITT from Knight Rider, and at the same time “collecting” and locating hundreds of famous move and TV cars around the world there wasn’t much left to find or make that interested me.

Then a pal of mine sent me a message about how 2015 was the “FUTURE” that Marty McFly went to, in Back to the Future.  I worked at Universal and I was often on set for “BTTF” back in 1985.  I remember them shooting in the Town Square, and seeing the Delorean time Machine tear around the back lot.   It was a great time at Universal Studios for cool TV and Movie Star Cars!

Fast forward to today, aka the FUTURE, and I have too many pals with Delorean time machines, and building one would just be redundant at this point.  But this is the FUTURE! So I sat down and watched the movies with a new set of eyes, laughing at what they envisioned 2015 was going to be like and hoping to be inspired!  2015 was going to be the last big hurrah for the BTTF trilogy, and I wanted to do something that wasn’t all ready done to death, packaged and sold on ebay.

Marty McFly 1985 dream truck

Marty McFly 1985 dream truck

It didn’t take long for the movie to remind me of one special vehicle, Marty McFly’s dream truck, that appeared in all three films! There were two trucks used in the film and they have both been tracked down and are restored, one is owned by Universal Studios, and the other is in the hands of a big fan, who also has a Delorean and a Lybian VW bus! That’s OK, that is where the originals should be!

So I was off on a quest to build an accurate replica for myself. After several failed attempts to find a 1985 Hilux Extracab 4×4, I didn’t give up.  I kept searching, first all of Los Angeles, then Southern California, then country wide.  I gave up on finding a black one after a while. Apparently all the 2wd trucks have been used as gardening trucks and have 400,000 miles on them and just as many dents.  The 4×4’s suffered a worse fate.  Due to the fixed front axle the 1985 trucks have been sacrificed to the off road world.  Cut, rolled, smashed, engines blown, all in pursuit of a good time out in the wild.

I am sure there are still a few “correct” trucks out there still banging around, but understand these trucks have been used, abused, and tossed away.  There is a tiny group of 4×4 fans that try and keep theirs alive by cannibalizing other trucks.  There is no “restoration” catalogs for these babies!  Just junk yards that are stripping old trucks, and then one by one the trucks still limping around fall, and are set upon by those still running.  I watched a group of guys tear into a “new” truck at a junk yard and it was stripped in a matter of minutes!  Some wanted parts, most were selling “organ transplants” on craigslist.

When we weren’t looking, these iconic trucks have just disappeared, like the Pinto, Vega, K Car…

After abandoning my hunt for the “perfect” donor car, finally found one with the right “bones”. 1985, Check. Toyota 4×4 Stick-shift. Check. Even had a Smitybilt rear bumper all ready on it.  Grey Interior with bucket seats? Check. Finally I had a new project!

A McFly Truck is similar to a Herbie or General Lee, if you can find the right year make and model, the rest is restoration, parts hunting and paint.  Rust has killed many a dream of a star car builder, and these Toyota’s after 30 years fall into that category as well.

The McFly Truck was delivered NEW in the movie, still on the back of a tow truck, and then seen in the garage at the end of the first film freshly polished by Biff.  The second truck was seen on the street at the end of the third installment (with some changes due to time travel) when Marty decided not to drag race Needles. (Aka the Bass player “FLEA” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, fun fact!)

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So the goal was a raised 4×4 1985 gloss black Toyota Hilux Pickup with Smitybilt bumpers, KC lights and a roll bar.  Now you may search for a truck, and find one with some or most of the needed elements, but no matter what most everything will be worn out, or headed in that direction.  Either that, or it has been “upgraded” to something “better” or newer, leaving you with the decision to either settle for some detail you know isn’t quite right, or a big bill to find and rebuild the original parts.

Ten or fifteen years ago, this would have been a pretty simple and affordable star car, but add another fifteen to twenty years and the trucks that everyone saw on the road are on their last legs and second or third engine.

After months of searching off and on and discovering it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought, I found one that was pretty darn good.  It was white, but recently painted so I thought would mean less body work. (WRONG!)  I did a few laps in the dark, poked around and looked past the current condition and awful smell. (please, if you smoke, don’t do it in your car!!!)

I knew this truck had a shady past, but I either had to pull the trigger or just walk away.  As my friends know, when it comes to star cars, I am a bit trigger happy!

So cash was laid out, paperwork signed, and I had a new hole to toss money into!

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Wrong front bumper, check!

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Wrong roll bar, Tires, rims and side mirrors? Check!

Well first things first, get it registered.  Quick trip to the AAA and I had the process started.  When talking with the lady at my local office, she asked me “So, you like REALLY old cars?”  I thought to myself, “Sure, like Dusenburgs, and Model “A”‘s?”  Then I realized she was talking about my 1985 Toyota!

To finalize the purchase I had to smog the truck.  No Problem, I had a smog certificate that it had passed three months ago.  Only it really hadn’t.  So off to my trusted mechanic who knows “really old” cars.  Days turned into weeks, then weeks into months.  Apparently he was discovering what I had found out, they don’t make parts for these trucks anymore!  So lots of delays due to finding and buying used parts, only to get them and find they are the same or worse than what he wanted to replace on my truck!  Through persistence he finally got the truck to pass smog. While he was at it he fixed a “list” to the passenger side that I hoped was bad shocks, but was body damage. Cha Ching!

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Does it look $3000 better? Well it is!!!

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The “Not Quite” Lybian Terrorist van and Marty McFly Truck!

Building a McFly Truck is a lot like building any star car from the 80’s.  When looking for parts, you hear the same thing, “Oh, sure, those were everywhere, everyone sold those parts!” “Ok, when was the last time you saw one, or had one for sale?” “Oh, I haven’t seen one for 15 years!”  Tires, bumpers, lights,  all no longer available.  So a big part of any build like this is spent in the quest on craigslist and Ebay.  The front bumper I found near San Francisco,  the single roll bar in Hesperia.  The KC lights in La Mirada, and lots of stuff off the net.  For me, the hunt is the fun part.  When I found replacement 4×4 side badges in Ebay, it was like I won the lottery! A very small lottery.  That I had to pay for.

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Marty McFly starter KIT! Just add a TRUCK!

Now that it was registered and running well, the “Carcheology” could begin!  Everything had to come off the truck as I would be changing the color.  Even though you might not be able to tell, the “hidden” white areas would bug me.  So all the tail lights, grills, mirrors, and the entire interior had to pulled out, reconditioned or replaced, recovered or repainted.

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The next few weeks was spent removing, repairing or reconditioning and setting aside for later reinstall.  During this process I was also making a list of small little parts that I needed to find to bring this truck back as close to “Statler Brother’s showroom” condition as I could!

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2, “THE PAINT JOB THAT COST MORE THAN THE TRUCK”, or “VEGAS OR BUST MY WALLET TRYING!”




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